"A Worn Path" is a short story written by Eudora Welty, which narrates about an old woman of African-American descent on a journey across rural America looking for medicine for his grandson, who is unwell. She is talking in a monologue, addressing the animals and even to the surrounding, expressing the pain in her bone. This paper shows and analyses the themes throughout the book.
The dominant theme of selfless love is evident throughout the story. Selfless love can be defined as a situation where one places the needs and the desires of another person way ahead of own (Valdes 2017). The romance is unconditional, even when accompanied by pain and hurts. Phoenix, the old African American woman, who is the main character in the story, sets on a journey to get rescue for his grandson, who has swallowed lye, and his throat is not working well. This is an incident of selfless love because, despite the conditions that prevail, PhoenixPhoenix sets out on a dangerous journey that exposes her to both dangers from attack by wild animals or even harmful people who are likely to rob and even kill her. She is tired but still believes in making her dream come true. Through a monologue, she reveals that she will do all within her reach to make the grandchild well again. The setting of the story is in the periods of the great depression to highlight the prevailing conditions that might have included a lack of food and natural disasters such as the great dust blow. The fact that PhoenixPhoenix encounters all these for his grandchild shows selfless love worth emulation
The theme of courage is also explored in the book. Courage is the ability of a person to control the fears in situations that seems to be threatening and risky. The author depicts Phoenix's journey as a series of an adventure filled with dangers, and an indomitable will to overcome them. The Natchez Trace is a pathway where she encounters thorns and shrubs, the barbed wire that threatened to ended the journey she had started with passion (Valdes 2017). The barbed wire was a symbol of obstacles in missions that people can encounter. Phoenix encounters a large Dog that threatens to tear her apart but she is courageous enough to survive it. True nature of courage is not in the folly of the youth and tools but in the heart and the ability to do good for others even when it is of a disadvantage to us and risks our wellbeing. The courage of the hunter lies in the dog and the weapon that he has in the hand. The clinic employees are always reminding her that she is in a charity chase. The employees are expecting to be shown gratitude for the service given. This is a massive contrast with PhoenixPhoenix, whose only joy is to see her grandson become well again. This is selfless courage and goodness in true charity. Love is valuable than boast and praise of oneself. Phoenix is an ideal of real courage
The themes of race and racism are discussed in the book too. The setting of the story is Mississippi in the periods of early 1940's. Phoenix has encounters with several whites in the journey and all have an impact on her wellbeing and her epic journey.
An instance is the meeting with the white hunter who after helping her out of a ditch comments on her journey with a contemptuous remark that look racist. The hunter asks "I know you old colored people, won't miss going to town to see Santa Claus!" The hunter points a loaded gun on the older woman and asks her if she is scared of a firearm (Valdes 2017). The author uses this conversation to show how some whites during that era regarded the blacks, most of the racist whites viewed blacks as not so much capable as the whites. For instance, the hunter sees to PhoenixPhoenix as granny, and the hunter would have used the word, Aunty if it were a white woman of Phoenix'sPhoenix's age. There is scorn in the way he patronizes the older woman's mission to rescue the grandson, by calling it a journey to town to see Santa Claus. This is how many whites viewed and conversed with the blacks to rob them off their individuality and also dignity. There are other instances when a white nurse regards her as "Aunty Phoenix" This is the author's way of introducing us to the fact that not everyone is racist. It shows that there are people who are understanding and not discriminatory. The themes in this book are, however, the author's highlights of the torment that the blacks suffer in the hands of racist people.
Another instance of courage is seen in her encounter with the hunter and the clinical nurses (Warfield 2017). The hunter laughs her mission and tries all means to discourage the older woman. He boasts out loudly of his ability to wander far and wide hunting for the birds. Phoenix stares at the vast, strange dog and the gun, which is pointed at her head. This situation is meant to show the reader the true nature of courage
Another theme in the story is the one on responsibility, and dusty phoenix Jackson throughout her story is responsible. He is taking on the duty of getting her grandson well again after the accident. This sense of responsibility is seen in the journey that she has to take across the forest despite her troubled vision and old age, as depicted by her use of a walking stick. She tells the nurses that they're the only two left in the world to look after each other. She is determined to make him well. Despite being depicted as a racist, the hunter helps the older woman out of a ditch and enquires about her mission to the town. This is a sense of responsibility for the youth, which is clouded by racial judgments.
The final theme that is depicted in the story is determination and the will of human beings to endure suffering (Warfield 2017). Phoenix is a reborn grandmother full of energy, determination, and optimism to fulfill her mission of getting his grandson medicine. The painting of PhoenixPhoenix is that of an ordinary black woman who is facing all the challenges in a world of racism, poverty, and physical pains and loneliness. The fact that she tells the nurses that she and the grandson are the only ones left shows that she has seen the pain of losing a loved one before and is not willing to endure it again. She has been through grieve and is ready to sacrifice all she has to ensure that she rescues the grandson. There are instances that reveal poverty in the setting of the story. The years of the context show that it was during the great depression when there was a great famine and little financial ability. Phoenix does not make phone calls to get the grandson an immediate medical attention. She is unable to drive his grandson to hospital despite the urgency of the situation, she instead uses a dangerous route across the forest to try and arrive in town. She is aware of the dangers but is willing to walk the distance using her walking stick which is an ordinary one made from an improvised handle of an umbrella. Purposeful endurance and sacrifice is an expressions of how human beings can make sacrifices to create a desire come to reality (Warfield 2017). The writer uses PhoenixPhoenix as a symbol of goodness, determination, and passion despite everything that happens. She uses the story as a lesson to address the world issues of racism and inequality created by hate and poverty.
Phoenix is engaged in a monologue throughout her journey. She converses with things on the way as she walks through the thickets. The use of this element helps the reader understand the life of the older woman and the misery surrounding her life. An instance Phoenix is engaged in a monologue throughout her journey. She converses with things on the way as she walks through the thickets. The use of this element helps the reader understand the life of the older woman and the misery surrounding her life. An instance is her conversation with the thorns when she is trying to untangle herself. The conversation with the white hunter and her thoughts at the barbed-wire wall shows determination, selflessness, and optimism.
Nice is her discussion with the thorns when she is trying to untangle herself. The conversation with the white hunter and her thoughts at the barbed-wire wall shows determination, selflessness, and optimism.
Valdes, Paloma, Mrs. Khan, and A. Worn Path Through Racism. "At the end of her journey, PhoenixPhoenix finally makes it to her destination with full confidence but is inferred as a charity case. Phoenix goes through circumstances that, at times, cause her to." (2017).
Warfield, Adrienne Akins. "In the South, Pain is Segregated": Waiting Rooms and Medical Ethics in Eudora Welty's" A Worn Path" and Ernest Gaines's" The Sky is Gray." Papers on Language and Literature 53.3 (2017).
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